by Neil Morris
After a languid first half, Mike Palacio delivered a left-footed cross in the 66th minute that sailed through the box and found an unmarked Brian Shriver. The Clearwater, Fla. native gathered the orb and used his own left boot to ripple the back of the net and put the RailHawks ahead.
However, four minutes later a Rowdies cross into the goalmouth found forward Dan Antoniuk, who headed the ball back to an incoming Tsuyoshi Yoshitake. Yoshitake one-touched the ball past a helpless Ray Burse for the equalizer.
Both Breiner Ortiz and Austin da Luz made their RailHawks debuts late in the match, with Ortiz linking up with Ty Shipalane to conjure a few final scoring opportunities. Overall, however, the Rowdies dominated the match: they outshot Carolina 22-10, earned nine corner kicks to just three for the RailHawks and you could almost track Tampa Bay's time of possession using an hourglass.
The draw is Carolina's third in as many matches this season. Still, any point earned on the road is valuable, particularly against the Rowdies and their boisterous supporters.
The RailHawks now take flight to Puerto Rico for a Saturday night match against the Islanders. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.